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International Law

Vance Center Leads Delegation to Peru for Implementation of Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas

In late November, a delegation of American, Columbian, and Chilean lawyers, led by the Vance Center for International Justice Committee and staff, attended a conference on ethics, professional responsibility, and pro bono in Lima, Peru. The delegation also conducted outreach, by hosting meetings and panels of Peruvian law firms, NGO’s, law schools, and journals, continuing the already strong dialogue in Latin America about strategies for supporting and institutionalizing pro bono culture.

U.S. delegation members served as panelists at the November 18th Conference on the Peruvian Code of Professional Conduct Initiative and the Pro Bono Clearinghouse, sponsored by the Catholic University of Peru, Ciudadanos al Dia of Lima, and the Vance Center. The delegation also visited 20 Peruvian law firms and hosted discussion with members of 25 different local firms.

This ‘Week of Dialogue’ occurred just a few weeks shy of the two-year anniversary of the Pro Bono Declaration of the Americas (PBDA), which was developed by the Vance Center and signed by hundreds of institutions across Latin America, including many Peruvian law firms. The signatories pledged to complete a minimum 20 hours of pro bono legal service per lawyer per year.

“Working and talking to the highest levels of the [Peruvian] firms – the policy and decision makers – was incredible. To get that level of attention, and to have senior lawyers from both the U.S. and Peru face-to-face, was irreplaceable,” said Antonia Stolper, Chair of the Vance Center Committee and delegate to Peru.

Throughout the week, the delegation met with partners and General Counsel to Peru’s top law firms and corporations. Stolper also described meeting with young law students from across the country. “It was unbelievable—their turnout and willingness floored me,” she said, noting the increased response to this year’s outreach.

“The difference between this year and previous year’s trips is night and day,” Stolper added. “Lawyers turned up ready to implement pro bono to increase justice, civil society, and fight corruption.”

The Vance Center’s delegation included: Todd Crider, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP Vance Center Committee; Jaime El Koury, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Vance Center Committee; Marcia Maack, Mayer Brown; Antonia Stolper, Shearman & Sterling LLP, President, Vance Center Committee; Judy London, Public Counsel (Los Angeles); Pablo Guerrero, Barros & Errázuriz, Fundacion Pro Bono (Chile); Guillermo Morales, Morales & Besa, Chilean PBDA Drafter; Paula Samper, Gomez-Pinzón Zuleta, Fundacion Pro Bono, Colombian PBDA Drafter. Additional participants included: Elise Colomer, Associate Director, Vance Center; Kristen Hutchens, Volunteer, Shearman & Sterling Incoming Associate; Jonathan Taylor, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett Fellow, Rainforest Foundation.